May 24, 2017 | By Jagdip Singh
‘Outjusticed 2’ is a documentary produced by Punjab-based media Sikh Siyasat, and is directed by the news site’s editor Parmjeet Singh. This is the second episode in the ‘Outjusticed’ series which documents the stories of people who have been denied justice by the Indian legal system. The focus is on Bhai Jaspal Singh, an 18 year old student who was shot and killed whilst evading Punjab Police forces that chased and attacked Sikh protestors in Gurdaspur in 2012. The protests were in support of a political prisoner Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana who had at the time been given the death penalty and was expected to be executed within days. These protests began in the Punjab, but were repeated across the World by younger Sikhs.
The documentary starts by showing why protestors gathered on the day Bhai Jaspal Singh was killed, introducing the inciting acts that Sikhs had faced in the days before. It goes on to explain in detail exactly where he was cornered and shot, before moving on to the aftermath that resulted in his cremation. These facts are presented using eyewitness accounts, raw mobile phone footage, and the testimonies of Singh’s parents. This is then where the analysis of the documentary really starts, showing how repeated inquiries and reports absolved the Police of wrongdoing, and naming and shaming State and Sikh leaders who interfered in the process. The documentary concludes by placing this major event in a recent Sikh historical timeline, offering an insight at how the protests and the reasons for the protests are significant to Sikhs more generally.
This documentary is narrated through the eyes of those closest to the victim, and is both audibly and visually appealing. There is an artistic eye in the editing with many of the interviewees being cut or contrastingly allowed to linger on screen for added impact. The use of expert contributors compliments the common man’s insight provided by Bhai Jaspal Singh’s father very well and reveals the incredible injustice of this case. There are graphical maps used that could have been used at the beginning of the documentary to help viewers appreciate Gurdaspur geographically in Punjab, as well as English subtitling that didn’t block contributors names and titles. But these are minor criticisms – this is an excellent documentary that not only presents the account of what took place, but implies a deeper story of recent times for Sikhs in Punjab.
Source: Sikh Sunehan Winter 2016, Sikh Education Council [https://thesikhway.com/learning/sikh-sunehan]
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